Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with ChelseaIBelieve, who volunteers as a staffer for the Tag Wrangling Committee
How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?
As a tag wrangler, I take all the tags people use on their works and make sure they’re sorted properly and link them together wherever possible. Wranglers assign themselves to fandoms that they have a good knowledge of the canon. For myself, I mostly work with Bandom fandoms and Sports fandoms.
I’m also a member of the tag wrangling staff. This means that in addition to my normal tag wrangling duties, I also work to help oversee the training and tracking of all of our wranglers along with taking care of some of the more difficult tasks we come across. We help guide the new wranglers and check-in on their progress often in their first few months to make sure everything is going smoothly with them. Once they get past training, staff members still check in on each wrangler regularly and work to answer any questions or concerns that come up. Staff members work on different projects depending on what we’re working on at that time, which can include putting together newsletters, keeping minutes from our staff meetings, and sorting through new wrangling applications.
What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?
I like to spend Sunday nights with my laptop and Netflix, wrangling while I watch some TV. I open up my wrangling page and sort through all the tags from the week. If it’s a particularly busy week, like during Christmas, I might do this more than one night a week. The rest of the week, I usually fit in some staff tasks around my classes and job as a journalist when I can. This includes being involved in wrangling and staff chats, answering e-mails, and anything our chairs might request help on.
What made you decide to volunteer?
As a college student with free time but not a lot of free money, I wanted to do something to give back to the website that I spent so much time being entertained by. I always wanted to give donations, but could rarely afford it. I saw the volunteer page and kept an eye on it for something I could do, when tag wrangling came up one day. I thought it could be a fun thing to give back a little of my time to help out, so I applied. A few years later, I was having so much fun that I wanted to get even more involved, and I went through the interview process to be a staff member.
What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?
I’m probably supposed to answer helping out and being involved, and those are definitely my favorite parts overall, but if I’m being honest about the most fun thing: checklists and spreadsheets. I am one of those crazy list makers that makes a list for everything, so I made a list of all of my fandoms and I check each one off as I clean the tags each week. I also made spreadsheets to track tags because I love spreadsheets. Being a staff member is filled with to-do lists to check off for each task to make sure everything gets done properly, and it’s incredibly fun for me to get to check each thing off as I do it and then mark the whole project “Done” after completing the list. It's such a great feeling of accomplishment.
What fannish things do you like to do?
I’m a writer for Hockey RPF and a former writer for Glee. Hockey is my biggest fandom, both in an RPF/RPS manner and in a more conventional sports fan way (I’m a season-ticket holder for my local NHL team and a sports journalist). I like to go out to practices and have met some other awesome fans from AO3 or Tumblr there. In addition to writing and sports-watching, I read a lot of fics in a wide variety of fandoms I’ve picked up over the years (Harry Potter, Star Trek, Marvel, Bandom, etc). I’ve extended my fandoms to both my knitting and my baking, including knitting creatures from fandoms to decorate my living room with, and cooking an entire Christmas dinner using World of Warcraft recipes. I also used to be on Tumblr a lot, but now I just pop in on occasion, preferring the one-on-one interactions (mostly via texting) that I have with good fandom friends I’ve made through both Tumblr and AO3.
Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.